TWO-TIME GRAMMY WINNER, BLUES HALL OF FAMER & AMERICANA MUSIC LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNER TAJ MAHAL’S STRIPPED DOWN ALBUM LABOR OF LOVE OUT DECEMBER 16 ON ACOUSTIC SOUNDS
FIRST RELEASE IN FOUR YEARS SET FOR LP, FEATURES SOLO FAVORITES FROM 1998 PLUS COLLABORATIONS WITH MUSIC MAKER RELIEF FOUNDATION ARTISTSHere is the press release:
Two-time GRAMMY Award winner, Blues Hall of Famer, and Americana Music Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Taj Mahal’s 47th album Labor of Love releases today, December 16, on Acoustic Sounds.
Labor of Love features some of his most beloved materials such as the murder ballad “Stack-O-Lee,” Mississippi John Hurt’s “My Creole Belle,” the Delta standard “Walking Blues,” and the longtime live favorite “Fishing Blues.” Taj also collaborates with one-armed harmonica player Neal Pattman, blind singer Cootie Stark, guitar master Cool John Ferguson (profiled in a recent issue of Premier Guitar), and Piedmont blueswoman Algia Mae Hinton. Pattman, Stark, and Baker have since passed on. Full liner notes by UNC writer Will Boone paint the full picture. All songs are previously unreleased while four of the songs have not been recorded in any other version by Taj.
Enraptured by the mission of the Music Maker Relief Foundation, Taj Mahal met MMRF head Tim Duffy in 1993 and introduced him to the Rolling Stones, BB King, Dan Ackroyd, and others; he is on the Advisory Board and has been a staunch MMRF ally and friend to Tim ever since. On a 42-date tour in 1998, Music Maker Relief Foundation head Tim Duffy set up recording equipment in whatever hotels Taj and the Music Makers were staying. Finally, in Houston, TX, Taj and the Music Makers got to playing after hours; six solo tracks were recorded along with seven tracks of Taj with Music Maker Relief Foundation artists such as National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship winners Etta Baker and John Dee Holeman. ‘Labor of Love’ is Taj’s first release in four years. Of working with those musicians, Taj says that he most enjoyed “getting to know their lives and how they made things work” while getting “closer to the source.”
In the past half decade alone, Mahal has opened for Bob Dylan, Wynton Marsalis, and Eric Clapton; performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon with the Roots; guested on new Clapton recordings; joined the Rolling Stones onstage; performed at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles, CA; joined a Bonnaroo jam with Susan Tedeschi, Anthony Hamilton, Derek Trucks, Chaka Khan; and performed on the Americana Music Awards.
Raised in a West Indian-American and African-American family, Taj Mahal signed to Columbia Records and began his recording career in 1968. Since then, he has played the music of the African diaspora, drawing connections between African, Carribean, South Pacific, and Southern American culture. Bonnie Raitt said of him, “Taj is probably the most important bridge we have between blues and rock-n-roll. He’s as bad as they get.” Mick Jagger has called him “a living link to the old blues tradition.”
Labor of Love Track List:
1. Stagger Lee
2. Shortnin’ Bread (with Neal Pattman)
3. My Creole Belle
4. I Ain’t The One You Love (with Alga Mae Hinton)
5. Fishin’ Blues
6. Mistreated Blues (with John Dee Holeman)
8. So Sweet (with Cootie Stark)
9. Spike Drivers Blues
10. Hambone (with John Dee Holeman)
11. Walkin’ Blues
12. John Henry (with Etta Baker)
13. Song For Brenda (with Cool John Ferguson)
This announcement originally published on Suze Reviews the Blues.